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Land Conservation News 

Pony Express Farm in Ipswich

The Pony Express Farm with its 128 acres of rolling land and riverfront offers the Town of Ipswich the opportunity to preserve an irreplaceable agricultural and natural resource while acquiring much-needed athletic fields.

Earlier in the year, Greenbelt was asked by the Town to find a way to conserve Pony Express Farm, a long-time conservation priority.  The farm has nearly a mile of frontage on the Castle Neck River, along with associated wetlands and saltmarsh, which protects the water quality that contributes to the ecological health and integrity of the 25,000-acre Great Marsh Ecosystem.

The purchase agreement is contingent on securing the funds needed to acquire the land from a variety of sources, including the Town of Ipswich Open Space Bond, funding from the state, a private sale and private fundraising by Greenbelt.

At a Special Town Meeting on January 24, Ipswich voters will be asked to allocate $2.15 million from its current $6.35 million open space bond.  Greenbelt is working closely with the Town to refine details, including future use and management of the property.

Fields, Meadows, Tributary to Essex River Protected 

Bill and Ann Febiger completed the donation of a conservation restriction to Greenbelt on 43.4 acres of their rolling fields, forests, and meadows off of Forest Avenue in Essex.

The conservation restriction, a voluntary landowner agreement that forever restricts development on the land while protecting critical natural resources, protects over 2,000 linear feet on Ebben Creek, a tributary to the Essex River. 
Portions of the land are designated “BioMap 2 Critical Natural Landscape” by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage Program.  This classification is given to “intact landscapes in Massachusetts that are better able to support a wide array of species and habitats over long time frames.”  Greenbelt is grateful to have been entrusted with helping to forever preserve important wildlife habitat and waterways for future generations.

Land Stewardship Update

American Kestrel Box Project

American Kestrels are the smallest raptor that nests in Massachusetts and their breeding population has been declining for several decades. They typically nest in tree cavities but will readily use man-made boxes. MassLIFT Americorps service member Christine Viola has begun an American Kestrel Box Project with a goal of installing new kestrel boxes on Greenbelt properties around Essex County.
The first box was installed recently at the Cox Reservation in Essex. The remaining five boxes in this phase of the project will be installed next March. Contact Christineif you would like to help install boxes or monitor them in the spring.


Snowy Owls Make Local Appearance

Local birders are reporting seeing Snowy Owls, and December and January are two of the best months in Essex County for finding them. So bundle up and Get Outside! Snowy owls are easiest to see before the ground is covered in snow, as they are almost always perched on or close to the ground. A good pair of binoculars is required; a telescope on a tripod is often preferred. The best locations are the Salisbury Beach State Park (drivable), the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge (drivable) and the Crane Reservation (hiking only). If Snowy Owls are at any of these location, you will see birders and photographers congregated to view them. Join the group, ask for their help and enjoy some time outdoors.


Community Engagement

Winter Lecture, Film Series: "The State of Our Oceans"

Our oceans as we know them are in a critically damaged state, and their survival and health is dependent on a willingness to understand the issues, and the ambition to protect them for future generations.

Greenbelt is excited to introduce a winter lecture and film series, “The State of Our Oceans,” that will take place over the coming months.  The goal is to help understand the current threats and the specific ecosystems within them, and to leave with a sense of purpose and hope for ways to make difference.  See the full schedule or contact Andrew for additional information.


Support Greenbelt's Annual Fund:  
We Can't Do This Without You

Greenbelt is proud to showcase West Newbury's Indian Hill Conservation Area in the Conservation Chronicle and map found in this year's Annual Fund letter.
Tax-deductible gifts to Greenbelt's Annual Fund make possible the long-term investment of our staff and resources in creating connected open space like Indian Hill. Respond by using the envelope provided in the mailed appeal or donate online. Thank you!


Thank You and Best Wishes to Cathy Lanois

Greenbelt extends its profound appreciation and best wishes to our Assistant Director of Development, Cathy Lanois, who will be leaving to become a member of the Park Street School's development team in Boston in January. 

Cathy brought boundless energy, contagious enthusiam and can-do spirit to every aspect of her work over eight years at Greenbelt, managing Membership and the Annual Fund Programs to coordinating our Trail Run Series and launching the Tour de Greenbelt Cycle for Land Conservation.

Lucky for us, Cathy's love for the outdoors will keep her close. We're  sure to see her running in the Pingree Woodlands.

Have Fun with Us!

Salt Marsh Ecosystem Lecture by Mass Audobon scientist, Robert Buchsbaum
Part 1 / State of Our Oceans Film and Lecture Series.
January 12, 2:00-4:00pm

Cox Reservation, 82 Eastern Ave., Essex RSVP FREE


Explore Indian Hill
Join Greenbelt & YMCA/North Shore Y Connections for a weekday winter hike.            January 19, 9:30-11:30am
95 Indian Hill St., West Newbury. RSVP FREE


Winter at Willowdale
Join Greenbelt for a guided walk through Willowdale Meadow and Willowdale Mill.  January 29, 1:00-3:00pm
Winthrop Street, Hamilton    RSVP  FREE


"Sea The Truth"
Film Screening

overfishing in the North Atlantic.
Part 2 / State of Our Oceans Film and Lecture Series.         February 2, 2:00-4:00pm

Cox Reservation,
82 Eastern Ave., Essex




Moonlight Snowshoe
Guided snowshoe adventure through woodlands and fields at Pingree Woodlands.           February 12, 6:30-8:30pm
Pingree School Parking Lot, 537 Highland St., Hamilton

Holiday shopping is easy with Amazon's Holiday Gift Guides. #StartWithaSmile at smile.amazon.com for your holiday gifts and Amazon donates to Greenbelt.

Thank you for your interest in local land conservation 

Greenbelt | Essex County's Land Trust 
82 Eastern Avenue Essex, Massachusetts 01929

Phone: 978.768.7241 | www.ecga.org | Email: ecga@ecga.org
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